Starting from zero
My expertise in producing online marketing videos has gone from zero, with resulting appalling videos, up to … well, wherever I am when you read this.
In blogging about my learning I hope to you will benefit in two ways
- Realise that you can start with no experience and minimal equipment and through trial, error and perseverance, manage to make worthwhile marketing videos in a reasonable length of time
- Gain some tips from my experience of things to do, tools you can use and pitfalls to avoid
Maybe there will even be a third benefit of laughing at my crude first attempts.
This first post sets out my first few efforts between February and mid-May 2017.
The very beginning of my video creation learning. I had created videos before on my mobile phone and played around a little on Windows Movie Maker but never concentrated seriously on scripting, producing and promoting a video.
As a first step I decided to create a simple one minute pitch for my business using my mobile phone (a Huawei P9). I wrote a script highlighting what services I offered, my experience and who would benefit from working with me. The mobile phone was placed on a table capturing the view of a chair opposite. I started the video then walked round to the sit in the chair and delivered the pitch, then got up and walked back round to turn off the camera.
My first video was just a test to get the camera centralised on my face and arms and a setup where it did not vibrate too much
and there followed six more attempts to get these things right.
Then I had my first two attempts at videoing my one minute pitch
As you can see, there are many glaring imperfections
- Not centralised on face and hands despite the efforts to do this
- Dazzling shirt (it was better on the earlier videos where I was trying to sort the framing. Maybe the light had changed)
- Eyes looking towards the heavens
- Stumbling speech – the clip above shows one run through the pitch but I did two with the hope that I could splice together the best bits from each. By doing repeats one immediately after the other, I ensured the same setting, body position, lighting and framing to allow the edit to look like a continuous shot.
- Video is a vertical strip when played on my PC
- At least the background looks fine
- and the voice delivery is not too robotic
There is still so much to learn.
24th April 2017
Only now do I make time to edit what I have done. I look at what editing software is good and download Lightworks, tempted by all its features.
Then I have second thoughts and decide to start by using Microsoft Movie Maker – start with something simple, since I am a novice.
I cut out superfluous parts at beginning and end, split video and found the right parts of the two different attempts at the pitch to put together.
Then I used animations to smooth the jumps between sections
Also, I have a look at Viddyoze whose introductory version I was tempted to buy months ago. I create a couple of animations, aiming for something that I can use as an intro to my first video. The best one I added in and again used animations to smooth the transition.
26th April 2017
I updated the intro sequence and included some intro music that I had downloaded a couple of years ago from iStockPhoto. Annoyingly the audio selection from iStockPhoto has now moved to Getty Images Audio so it was no longer covered by my iStockPhoto subscription.
I also create an image showing my contact details and add it as an outro.
After editing out some of the worst pauses and mistakes, there is still lots of work to do. But the videos are starting to look more attractive than repulsive.
27th April 2017
Found out that I could only upload 32MB files to my WordPress site and the videos were much more e.g. over 100MB for a one minute video in MP4 format. This was with my phone in default video resolution of FHD 1020p (16:9, stereo).
So I tried different resolutions:
- FHD 720p (16:9, stero) requires 90MB for a 1 minute video
- VGA 640×480 requires 35Mb for a 1 minute video
and the VGA resolution looked reasonable, even in full screen mode so this may go a long way to solving the problem of posting just short videos on the website.
I can probably change the parameters on my website to allow larger files but I consider it is good discipline to see if I can create smaller files which will be easier for users to stream, especially on mobile phones.
16th May 2017
I have set aside most of the week to concentrate on creating a video since in normal weeks I allow urgent but unimportant tasks to push this work aside.
My goals for this week are:
- Post an updated pitch video to my website
- Video promotion plan
- Post this blog of my video efforts online
- Create a video of one of my blog posts
The first half day of work gave me time to
- Alter the php.ini file on my website so that I could upload videos up to 64M and have posts up to 64M
- Try videosmaller.com to reduce the size of MP4 video created on my Huawei P9 smartphone
17th May 2017
I discovered that this week which I have set aside for learning about creating and publishing videos on websites, is Learning at Work Week. Very appropriate.
Last night, I did not have enough time to let videosmaller.com finish work on reducing the size of an MP4 video. So this morning I tried again and was amazed at the results – my 131MB FHD 1080p video was reduced to 8MB and when I uploaded and played it, the quality looked fine.
Next I looked for a utility that would produce WebM version of my videos since my WordPress theme (Divi from Elegant Themes) suggests having a WebM versions of videos. After downloading Webmdshow, I found it did not do the file conversion I wanted, though it later allowed me to view WEBM videos after I had converted to that format.
I then downloaded Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate which seemed well recommended. It converted one-third of the file and wanted a commercial subscription to convert the whole. With the 1/3 file I was able to test loading and playing it on the website but the file size was 40MB so I again need to compress files, this time those in WebM format which is not supported by videosmaller.com.
Also tried zamzar.com to convert to WebM. This converted the compressed MP4 version of the whole video and the resulting file was only 8MB, just like the compressed MP4 version.
18th May 2017
A frustrating day without seeming to make much progress. I wrote up most of these blog notes and started to compress some of my earlier video attempts so that I could load them on this website.
Also did some work on updating my script.
19th May 2017 onwards
The aim is to blog in real time on the following blog posts in the “Video Marketing Learning” category